Book

Being Hal Ashby

Nick Dawson

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125381
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135267 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813125381.001.0001
Being Hal Ashby

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Hal Ashby (1929–1988) was always an outsider, and as a director he brought an outsider's perspective to Hollywood cinema. After moving to California from a Mormon household in Utah, he created eccentric films that reflected the uncertain social climate of the 1970s. Whether it is his enduring cult classic Harold and Maude (1971) or the iconic Being There (1979), Ashby's artistry is unmistakable. His skill for blending intense drama with off-kilter comedy attracted A-list actors and elicited powerful performances from Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail (1973), Warren Beatty and Julie Christie in Shampoo (1975), and Jon Voight and Jane Fonda in Coming Home (1979). Yet the man behind these films is still something of a mystery. This book tells the story of a man whose thoughtful and challenging body of work continues to influence modern filmmakers and whose life was as dramatic and unconventional as his films. Although his name may not be recognized by many of today's filmgoers, Hal Ashby is certainly familiar to filmmakers. Despite his untimely death in 1988, his legacy of innovation and individuality continues to influence a generation of independent directors, including Wes Anderson, Sean Penn, and the Coen brothers, who place substance and style above the pursuit of box-office success.

Keywords: Hal Ashby; director; Hollywood; cinema; Harold and Maude; Being There; The Last Detail; Shampoo; Coming Home; filmmakers

Book.  440 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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Table of Contents

Prologue in Being Hal Ashby

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Enter Hal in Being Hal Ashby

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Los Angeles in Being Hal Ashby

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Norman in Being Hal Ashby

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1968 in Being Hal Ashby

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